Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 59, June 2009



The effect of television on children’s social and linguistic development.



Independence? Expertise? A critique of two reports

Professor Colin Richards argues that the Primary Curriculum Review and Expert Group on Assessment are merely telling the Government what it wants to hear.



Gender stereotypes hold back 15-year-olds

The latest analysis of results from the Programme for Student Assessment (PISA) has revealed that the gender gap in attainment has been substantially reduced across OECD countries.


The elephant in the reading classroom

Data from the British birth cohort studies reveals a strong link between deprivation and lack of school achievement throughout the last fifty years. But Graham Frater argues that this cycle is not inevitable.


Spotlight on children’s reading

Naomi Danquah, a project manager for children’s and young people’s reading programmes with the Reading Agency, writes about a the launch of a programme aimed at highlighting the best that children’s publishing has to offer.


Eight days’ progress in ten minutes

As the debate surrounding the cost of Reading Recovery continues, Tony Attwood writes about a reading programme which requires only that the child can spend ten minutes a day on a computer.


National Literacy Trust

A new curriculum, a new definition for literacy?

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, on the final report of the independent review of the primary curriculum.


The great divide

George Dugdale, Policy Advisor at the National Literacy Trust, argues that separating literacy and media literacy creates an unhelpful, falsified construct.


Why story making matters

Pie Corbett, former primary head and literacy specialist, argues that storytelling techniques can help children to internalise language patterns. With support from the National Literacy Trust’s Julia Strong, he has worked with the Primary National Strategy to develop these approaches into the well-received Talk for Writing.


Playing the literacy game

Jim Sells, project manager, sport and literacy at the National Literacy Trust, discusses the use of sport as a powerful tactic to engage boys in literacy.


Budget 2009: Looking ahead

George Dugdale, Policy Advisor at the National Literacy Trust, explains why Alistair Darling’s commitment in his latest Budget to giving every person under 25 a job or training opportunity must be used to help raise literacy levels.



Document Reviews

We review English at the Crossroads: An evaluation of English in primary and secondary schools from Ofsted, Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum: Final Report from the DCSF, National Curriculum: Fourth report of session 2008-09 from the Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families, and Rising Marks, Falling Standards: An investigation into literacy, numeracy and science in primary and secondary schools from Policy Exchange.



Canada’s Hidden Deficit: The Social Cost of Low Literacy Skills from CPRN in Canada; Basic Reading Skills and the Literacy of the America’s Least Literate Adults from NCES in the USA; How well do qualifications predict literacy and numeracy? from the Ministry of Education in New Zealand; Reading for Pleasure: families, learning and storytelling from NIACE; and the report from the Expert Group on Assessment.



We report on Dr Mary Bousted’s speech to the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, and an Institute for Fiscal Studies conference in April questioning how worthwhile Skills for Life has been.




We report on the latest research and policy news from Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Reports this issue include controversy at the International Reading Association conference in Canada, rising tuition fees and the dangers of using exam results to construct league tables in the US, Australia’s first national literacy and numeracy tests, and the launch of New Zealand’s Literacy Language and Numeracy Action Plan 2008–12.


Bilingualism in children with Down syndrome

Julie Longard and Hélène Deacon of Dalhousie University, Canada, examine research questioning the belief that children with Down syndrome should not be educated bilingually.


Not just rhyme and rhythm

Heather O’Rourke and Hélène Deacon of Dalhousie University, Canada, write about the potential benefits of using multiple languages in the classroom to facilitate learning.


Music training and literacy development

Dr Joseph Piro, Assistant Professor at Long Island University’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, details research showing how music tuition can help children improve their literacy.


Young people’s reading and role models

Dr Christina Clark, Head of Research at the National Literacy Trust, outlines the key findings from a recent NLT survey.



Media Watch

The National Year of Reading’s final report, evidence that reading reduces stress, functional tests in English and maths scrapped, the cost to children of poor teaching, single-sex classes, the final report of the primary curriculum review, and the Expert Group on Assessment.


Research digest

Ongoing research, article abstracts and article titles of research from education and science journals.



Answers to parliamentary questions on the classification of dyslexia, special educational needs pilot schemes, class sizes, and the Offender Learning and Skills Service in the House of Commons; media literacy and adult literacy in the Scottish Parliament; and the report of the Dyslexia Rapporteur Group in the Welsh Assembly.


<< Back to latest issue